56. The heresy of the temple lottery

Article summary: 

The temple lottery adopted in electing the pope of the Coptic Orthodox Church is not an original way of choosing the pope. The author gives the historical background on the origin of the process of choosing popes.

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The author suggests that the Coptic Orthodox Church, which has produced a number of the world’s most famous men of religion, appears to be giving up the core of its spirituality and adhering to superficial appearances and traditions.

This, suggests the author, is represented in the tradition of the temple lottery followed in choosing the pope of the Coptic Orthodox Church of Alexandria.
The author said that she conducted research about the origins of this tradition. She discovered that the pope used to be chosen by the consensus of the public of believers.

The second code of Hypolitis [170- martyred in 235 AD] book of the church canons states that the bishop is ordained after being agreed on by a consensus of all the people.

The author cites Alfred Butler’s argument stated in his book ‘The Ancient Coptic Churches of Egypt’ [see: http://www.amazon.com/Ancient-Coptic-Churches-Egypt/dp/1593332513]. The book stated that the temple lottery was not historically known in the rites and traditions of electing popes. He added that it was a legendry tradition from the 11th century adopted by the order of a non-Christian minister due to problems that arouse regarding electing the patriarch.

Rāghib adds that the same information was reported in ‘Tārīkh al-Batārikah’ [The History of the Patriarchs], volume 4, part 1. She considers the temple lottery to be against reason. She mentions that the Holy Bible only mentions the lottery twice; once when they wanted to choose a successor of Judas the traitor, and the other time in the Old Testament in the story of the Jonah.

Rāghib argued that this manner was adopted in the Bible as a simple means of representing man’s relation with God.
She finally praised the argument of Bishop Paphnotius who considered the temple lottery to be a heresy. Paphnotius published his argument in his book that was reviewed in Rose al-Yūsuf. [Reviewer: No further information mentioned either about the book or the about the revision of Rose al-Yūsuf. Bishop Paphnotius book is entitled, ‘Hatmyyat al-Nuhád bi-al-‘Amal al-Kanasī,’ meaning: the Inevitability of Leading a Renaissance in the Church Function.]

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